Ripon's Booth War: Aftermath of the Fugitive Slave Act in Wisconsin





Thursday, August 2, 1860

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     Mrs. S. M. Booth and Madame Anoeke of Milwaukee have gone to Europe in Company.

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     HABEAS CORPUS.--Judge Paine refuses to act on the application of Booth for a writ of habeas corpus, on the ground of delicacy, because he has been a counsel in the case. We are decidedly of the opinion that it is a false delicacy. We don't know why he should refuse to act in the case of Booth any sooner than in any other case involving the same principles and a similar state of facts. It might be indelicate to act on a principle as Judge, which he had advocated as an attorney, or at least designing men might so term it.--We think the intelligent masses of this state were prepared to judge of his actions on this question from a higher stand-point. From his stand-point, his actions in the future must be so crippled on this great question, that common justice to himself and to the people, would seem to dictate that he should resign a position, the duties of which he cannot fearlessly perform.
     We have not a word to say against the ability or integrity of Judge Paine, and perhaps ought not to criticize his delicacy, but we do think the interests of the hour demand a predominance of the "I-take-the-responsibility" spirit, on the Supreme [Court? copy unreadable]. Men are needed who will act from their mature convictions of right, regardless of consequences. Except his connection with this case as counsel, we believe Judge Paine would act fearlessly. If circumstances deter him acting out his conviction of right and obeying the voice of the people, it would seem to us the most sensible course to resign at once, and allow the Governor to appoint a free man in his place.


Thursday, August 9, 1860

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     A few minutes after 12 o'clock on the 1st inst., S. M. Booth was taken from the United States Custom House at Milwaukee, by virtue of an informal writ of habeas corpus, issued from the high court of sovereigns, and set at liberty.
     The modus operandi of the release, was substantially thus: The Marshall and all but one of his assistants being at dinner, two men presented themselves at the door, and showed the guard a card of admission to see Booth. While inspecting it, he was seized by the arms, and advised to say nothing. Seven or eight others now came up, the prison door was unlocked, Booth walked out and Burke (the guard) walked in. Passing down stairs, Booth took the arm of his brother-in-law, T. J. Salsman, and went over into the 4th ward where Salsman resides. After receiving the congratulations of his friends Booth was placed in a carriage and driven to Schwartzburg, where he took the LaCrosse cars and came out to Waupun. Marshal Lewis and one of his deputies were notified of the condition of matters in time to get to Salsman's residence before Booth left, but did not attempt to re-arrest him. Mr. Booth addressed a public audience at Waupun on Thursday evening, and was about the streets during day, but though several of Jehu's emissaries were prowling around, no attempt was made to arrest him.
     On Saturday he came up to Ripon and made a public address, defying the administration and its forces. During his speech Deputy Marshal McCarty of Fond du Lac, attempted to arrest him. He was roughly handled by the audience, who were so exasperated that he was in momentary danger of being riddled. Booth finished his speech, and was escorted to the residence of Prof. Daniels and guarded. At the time of the arrest there were five or six Dep. U. S. Marshals at hand, (so one of 'em informed us,) but it was deemed unsafe to attempt to enforce the arrest. Indeed they did not really desire to take him. If they could only frighten him from the country their souls would be at peace. Booth has long been a thorn to them, and they cannot bear his presence, though if the Free Democrat is correctly informed he is bound to stick by them.--That paper says he is going back to Milwaukee.
     It is intimated that the U. S. Marines will be sent from Milwaukee, to assist in the arrest, and if necessary, shoot down the people. Private advices from Ripon and vicinity would hardly warrant the attempt. The presence of an armed force there will serve to enrage rather than intimidate them. Hundreds of farmers would flock "to the rescue," at an hour's warning, and should the troops fire on the people, it is very doubtful if one escaped to tell what became of the rest.
     The plea of "law and order," has very little force in this controversy, and the attempt to create a diversion by crying down Booth's caracter [sic], cannot avail. A very large majority of the people believe there is a principle at stake which must be vindicated. They feel that whatever my be declared to be the law in the case, the act is oppressive in itself, and in this State, the U. S. officials have but [?] the moral right at least, which any ruffianly mob might claim, to enforce an unconstitutional, an oppressive, a hated act. They believe the pretended officers are not only moral, but legal trespassers \, in the attempt to enforce the provisions of the "Fugitive Act" of 1850. In this opinion, they believe themselves backed by the unreversed decision of the highest tribunal in the State, in this very case, they having declared Booth a free man. Let then the officers be warned [unreadable] before more serious consequences follow. The Kansas game cannot be recreated in Wisconsin.

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     NOT THE QUESTION.--The Horican Aryus compared the conduct of Republican journals asking Judge Paine to resign, on account of his refusal to act on the petition for a writ of Habeas Corpus for Booth, with their silence over the decision on the Farm Mortgage question, and asks why they don't call on the whole court to resign. The Republicans have not asked Judge Dixon to resign, though he refused to grant the writ, and had Judge Paine taken a position against them would not have thought of such a thing. It was because Judge Paine was only a cypher in the case that he was asked to stand aside. An adverse decision is another thing altogether.

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     --State Commissioner Heg has received a requisition from Jehu H. Lewis, United States Marshal, informing him that he understood Booth was concealed within the walls of the prison, and requiring him to employ his police force in securing him to his custody. Maj. Heg replied that Mr. Booth was not concealed about the prison--that he was visiting his family, and was at liberty to go whence he pleased. As to employing his police force, they were more honorably and profitably employed.
     --T. J. Salsman was assaulted in the streets in Milwaukee on Saturday evening by U. S. Marshal Lewis, and knocked down with a heavy cane. He was for some time senseless. The assault grew out of the demand by Salsman for certain books which Booth had in his room at the Custom House.

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     ONLY $100 REWARD?--It is remarkable what a small reward is offered for Booth's capture. Are. J. R.'s officials so nearly out of soap, or do they secretly desire Booth to escape? Their desire will most likely be satisfied.

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     BRUTAL MURDER IN KANSAS.--A letter in the Tribune, gives the particulars of the murder of Charles Doy and the Waffles, who were interested in the rescue of Dr. Doy from a Missouri jail a year or two since. A squad of Missouri assassins went over into Moneka, and burned several houses of friends of Doy, killed Doy and Messrs. Henry and Harvey Waffles, (father and son). The ruffians swear they will follow Dr. Doy with dire vengeances.
     If a negro in Texas sets fire to a building or town, it is laid to Abolitionists, and the Democratic press of both factions are unsparing in their denunciations. If a negro is burned, or white border men murdered for their opposition to the damnable institution, they scarcely mention it, or say, "its none of our business."


Thursday, August 22, 1860

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The Rescue Cases
     Excitement is again rife in regard to the rescue of Booth, and the attempt to recapture him. There are various rumors in regard to his movements, though it is generally understand [sic] that he remains in and about Ripon, and that only a well-planned and hastily covered surprise, can succeed in taking him out of the country without his consent. The fresh country air has doubtless served to sweeten his temper somewhat, which had become badly roiled by long confinement, and a course of treatment the most tantalizing. The result is that he says less--creates less smoke, and yet there is no less real fire, a fact of which his hunters seem to take due notice.
     Speaking of tantalizing treatment, we of course alluded to the petty annoyances to which he was subjected at the hands of U. S. Marshal Lewis, not to the "family" hunt, now going on in the house of his late political confreres. Indeed in view of the latter, we think Mr. Booth may well flee to the bastile for protection , crying "save me from my friends." He certainly ought to apologize to Marshal Lewis, if he has ever spoken a harsh word of him.--Acknowledging the decrees of Judge Miller's Court, the Marshal had a duty to perform, and nothing less than the secure keeping of Booth would answer, but for those who deny that authority in the premises, and who express satisfaction that Booth was liberated, to make it the occasion of the most violent denunciation, for real or supposed short comings in other respects, is indeed passing strange. Mr. Booth may be a greater sinner in some respects than a majority of men; and then again he may be most shamefully belied. In either case, he should be judged in this case by its own attending facts. If he is so morally depraved that he is unfit to go at large, then confine him, and not hunt him from the State under false pretences. We do not pronounce Mr. Booth guilty or innocent of the social crimes charged against him, so are many prominent and influential men, to mention whose names in this connection would be slanderous. Yet the talents of these , well known to be such, are sought after by both political parties. Shall the rule be established, that a charge of immoral conduct, shall drive a man not only from virtuous society, but from the country? Then who is safe? When will vengeance be satisfied? Where is the line of respectability to be drawn?
     There is likely to be an opportunity for those who have started this kind of warfare, to follow it up and show how far they will carry it. Professor Daniels was arrested at Fond du Lac a week ago to-day on charge of assisting in liberating Booth from the Custom House. Already has the game of personal detraction been commenced in this case, though as yet, it has not become so general. The necessities of the case may, however, yet demand it.
     We have only to say in conclusion, that the excitement has developed decided symptoms of an "irrepressible conflict," in the Republican party of this State, and it would not surprise us very much, if the disease should yet prove seriously afflictive. It is certainly the only hope of and should be carefully pursed by the distracted Democracy.

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     ARRESTED.--Prof. Daniels was arrested at Fond du Lac a week ago to-day, by Deputy Marshals Stryker and Jones, and taken to Milwaukee, on charge of assisting in the liberation of S. M. Booth. He was brought up for examination a day or two afterwards. He waived the examination and gave bonds in the sum of $2,000 to answer the complaint and stand trial. H. J. Paine and A. D. Smith are his counsel, and he proposes to test the matter thoroughly.

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     ONLY THEY DIDN'T.--A squad of Deputy Marshals went over to Green Lake, one day last week, to take O. H. Lagrange.--They did not find him, but took a younger brother whom they afterwards released.--Hugh intimates in a brief note to the Ripon Times that he is prepared to give them a warm reception if they will call again, and we learn from other sources that the people generally of that section will sustain him.

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     A grand Wide Awake pic nic [sic] was given by the Republican ladies of Fond du Lac, a week ago last night. The Commonwealth says there were 3,000 present.

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     --Shanghai Chandler has been away Down East on a visit to his "old time" friend. On his way, whenever he slept in a house that was lighted with gas, he insisted in blowing out the burner. Queer fellow, that Chandler.
     --The Madison Argus has information that Booth attended church in Ripon a week ago Sunday, in company with O. P. Read of Green Lake, on whose premises it is supposed that he had been secreted.

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Sat. Clark's Letter to Jehu.
     We publish by request, though a little out of date, the following letter from Sat. Clark, to U. S. Marshal Lewis, in relation to the recapture of Booth:

HORICON, Aug. 3d, 1860

     Jehu H. Lewis, Esq., My dear Sir:--I regret very much that I was unable to comply with the request in your despatch [sic] of the 1st inst., "to arrest S. M. Booth, an escaped convict, who was rescued from your custody by an armed force."
     I conceive it my duty to myself as "a law abiding" citizen to set myself right in your estimation, and through you to the "Reverend" "Old Buck," whose colors you wear.
     Upon the receipt of your despatch, I armed myself with one of John Brown's lances , and rode through the streets shouting at the top of my voice, "Freemen to the rescue!" I was immediately surronded [sic] by an armed force of 1,000, more or less, (as republicans estimate the numbers attending their ratification meetings,) who eagerly inquired what was wanted. I explained in as few words as possible that Booth had been rescued from the Hon. Jehu H. Lewis, U. S. Marshal, and that I had been notified that he was on the cars, to arrive in about half an hour. The inquiry was then made whether you did not hold office under the present Federal Administration; and upon being told that you did, they set up such a shout of derision as would not have been gratifying to your vanity to have heard, and declared that old Buck and his minions might catch their own rogues for all of them; and that if the officers appointed by Old Buck were too imbecile to discharge their duty, he ought to discharge them and appoint Democrats in their stead; or, if they must have assistance, they should apply to their own allies, the black republicans. I tried to persuade them that you was as efficient and honest as any man supporting this Administration, and while they did not dispute that proposition, they declared that though Old Buck, at the date of your appointment, pretended to be a Democrat, he nevertheless appointed you against the known wishes of every respectable Democrats [sic] in the State; that your nomination was confirmed by the Senate through the influence of Republicans, for the sole purpose of rendering the Democratic party ridiculous. And one man said that he heard a prominent Republican (who was a delegate to the Chicago Convention, and now a prominent railroad man,) say that he had written to Doolittle and Durkee to do all in their power to effect your confirmation, as nothing, he said, could possibly render the party more odious.
     It was also charged that you had at the last State Convention (pretending to be a Democrat) placed all the patronage of your office at the disposal of one Hobart to enable him to get to Charleston as a delegate to oppose the wish of the entire Democracy of the State; he also pretending to be a Democrat.
     While I could not deny these allegations, I nevertheless tried my best to pacify them, and induce them to assist to me not only to arrest Booth but his body guard led by one LaGrange. I told them not to be afraid, hoping to arouse them by appealing to their courage, but it was no go.-- They declared that if Old Buck had remained in the Democratic party, or had been true to the Constitution and laws of the United States himself, they would do everything in their power to assist his officers; or if the gallant Douglas was President, (and required it,) they would take Booth back to Milwaukee on one of Lincoln's rails.
     The crowd then gave three cheers for Douglas, three more for Charley Larrabee and dispersed. When [sic] I sneaked off to find H. E. C., the only Breckinridge [Southern Democratic candidate for President] man in this part of the State, who I thought would sympathize with me; but I found that as soon as he heard that Booth was rescued, he left for Kekoskee.
     I really believe, notwithstanding the above, that the Democrats of this place are as brave and loyal as any community that ever lived, but they are unwilling to give the public the least cause to suspect that under any circumstances they could be induced to form an alliance with those persons who are supporting Breckinridge, whose only aim is the destruction of the Democratic party and the dissolution of the Union.
     Hoping to retain your confidence and esteem I remain as ever, Very respectfully

Your admirer,

P. S.--Please write to Old Buck and inform him of the extraordinary services I tried to render.


Thursday, August 29, 1860

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     BOOTH (NOT) ARRESTED!--An attempt was made a little before daylight, on Monday morning, by several Dep'y Marshals, headed by McCarty, to arrest Booth, who was stopping at the house of A. Picket, in Utica, Winnebago County. The Marshals attempted to force an entrance into the house, but they were baffled and driven off. One of them hastened to Ripon for assistance, and succeeded in getting Capt. Mapes and Gov. Horner to go to the rescue. But they couldn't all take Booth.--Too many rebels had assembled. Some irreverent chap dressed the old Gov. in a stout bull-poke, the wretch! which act must be pronounced very naughty. Booth and his friends came down to Ripon, where he remained at last accounts. We understand that McCarthy says he has made his last effort to enforce the fugitive slave law, and if Jehu insists that he shall try again, he will resign. We commend his sense, through it would have been still better for him, if, like a Dep. we wot of, he had kept aloof from the start.

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Mass Meeting
     The Republicans of Ripon are making arrangements for a great Mass Meeting at that place, on the occasion of the Congresional [sic] Convention. (5th Sept.) The time and place is most favorable for a monster meeting. The Berlin Wide Awakes will doubtless turn out in force, and many other true Republicans will be there from this section.
     If good speakers are announced, there cannot fail of being many thousand sturdy Republicans in council. Brethren of Ripon, give us fair warning.

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     --G. W. Frederick was arrested at Watertown, on the 22nd, by Dep'y Marshal Garlick, charged with being one of the Booth rescuers. The Enquirer says he had in his possession one of Allen's revolvers and a slung shot, but did not attempt to use either.

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